Evolution and pre-service science teachers: investigating acceptance and rejection
This study utilized three methodological approaches to examine the controversy and concerns associated with evolution education, taking the examination of acceptance and rejection full circle from concept to conflict. Employment of a critical analysis approach determined existing gaps in the literature surrounding evolution education and provided directionality for further study. A quantitative analysis generated findings that explain variance in the acceptance of evolution among pre-service science teachers in a teaching college in the Southeastern United States. A third qualitative method study explored the lived experiences of pre-service science teachers focusing on the variables of interest and generated a theoretical process model of acceptance and rejection for this group of participants. This study's variables explored aspects of Southern cultural and religious identity, socio-cultural influences on teaching and learning, and dilemmas faced by teachers when teaching controversial topics. This exploration illuminated the current state of evolution education in the Southeastern Unites States, as well as obstacles to the acceptance of evolution and possible avenues for improvement of science teacher education and classroom instruction.